New York University and the American Museum of Natural History have received a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore plant evolution and to create a public database that provides information about the structure and inferred function of proteins found in two plant genomes. The three-year grant will allow the researchers at both institutions to investigate ground-breaking methods for exploring the evolution, structure, and function of proteomes-- the entire array of proteins expressed by a genome.
Richard Bonneau and Michael Purugganan, biologists from NYU's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, along with Rod DeSalle, curator from the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at AMNH, will model species Arabidopsis thaliana (the most widely studied plant model system, and the first sequenced plant) and the rice plant Oryza sativa. For these species, the researchers will combine information about the structure of proteins with information about the evolution of those proteins. By mapping information about the evolutionary importance of parts of genes onto their predictions about how the proteins that are encoded by those genes fold into 3D shapes they hope to glean critical insights into what the many thousands of proteins in these genomes are actually doing. The work will result in a novel resource for other scientists working on several types of species.
The project will rely on bioinformaticsthe use of algorithms as well as computational and statistical techniques to conduct research in biologyin achieving these aims. It will be carried out on the World Community Grid (wcgrid.org), an-IBM backed computing platform composed of more than 400,000 volunteers from all over the world (anyone can volunteer by going to wcgrid.org and downloading the grid agent, which will then fold proteins when you are not using your computer). The grid employs an infrastructure developed by IBM and the contributions of its volunt
|Contact: James Devitt|
New York University